Stocks Rally Again as Banks and Industrial Companies Rise

NEW YORK (AP) -

U.S. stocks climbed Thursday as industrial companies, banks, technology and materials firms and energy companies all rallied. A strong day of corporate results left investors feeling better about the economy.

For more than a week investors have been poring through company earnings for signs the economy is growing at a faster pace and, on Thursday, they felt they found it. Railroad operator CSX gave transportation companies like railroads and airlines a big boost while Sherwin-Williams raised its annual projections and helped basic materials makers go higher.

It’s still early in this round of earnings reports and a few high-profile companies have disappointed Wall Street this week, so stocks have wobbled recently. But for the most part, experts and investors are encouraged.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 index advanced 17.67 points, or 0.8 percent, to 2,355.84. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 174.22 points, or 0.9 percent, to 20,578.81.

The Nasdaq composite gained 53.74 points, or 0.9 percent, to an all-time high of 5,916.78. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks added 17.02 points, or 1.2 percent, to 1,384.15.

American Express had a solid first quarter as its credit card members spent more and kept bigger balances on their cards. The stock gained $4.47, or 5.9 percent, to $80.02. SLM, the parent of the student lender Sallie Mae, reported much stronger revenue than expected and its stock climbed $1.17, or 10.1 percent, to $12.70. Citizens Financial rose $1.05, or 3.1 percent, to $35.27 after its report.

Bond prices fell further. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.23 percent from 2.22 percent.

Equipment rental company United Rentals flopped after its sales fell far short of expectations. The company said rental rates are still weak, and its stock lost $6.21, or 5.2 percent, to $113.24.

Energy prices wobbled and finished lower. Benchmark U.S. crude slipped 17 cents to $50.27 a barrel in New York while Brent crude, the international standard, rose 6 cents to $52.99 a barrel. However energy companies climbed higher. They stumbled Wednesday as the price of U.S. crude sank 3.8 percent.

State and federal authorities sued Ocwen Financial, saying the mortgage lender botched the handling of millions of accounts. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau said Ocwen generated errors in borrowers’ accounts, failed to credit payments, illegally foreclosed on homeowners, and charged borrowers for products without their consent. Its stock plunged $2.91, or 53.9 percent, to $2.49 in heavy trading.

In other energy trading, wholesale gasoline rose 1 cent to $1.67 a gallon. Heating oil was flat at $1.58 a gallon. Natural gas fell 3 cents to $3.16 per 1,000 cubic feet.

Gold rose 40 cents to $1,283.80 an ounce. Silver lost 14 cents to $18.02 an ounce. Copper rose 1 cent to $2.54 a pound.

The dollar rose to 109.31 yen from 108.70 yen. The euro inched up to $1.0722 from $1.0721.

Paris’ CAC 40 jumped 1.5 percent as traders bet on a growing likelihood of a victory for centrist Emmanuel Macron in the upcoming presidential election. Polls have shown a tight race between four candidates ahead of the first round of voting Sunday.

The DAX in Germany and the FTSE 100 of Britain both added 0.1 percent.